I am in catch up mode this week! Can you tell? 🙂 Today I am reaching way back to post content I’ve put off for almost a year! During both semesters of the 2017-18 academic year, I had the honor of teaching Grant Writing to upperclassmen at Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU). I’ve always known I would enjoy teaching, so I jumped at the opportunity when I was called upon by the Action Research Center (ARC) to replace the prior instructor, who moved out of state.
Long before I came along, ARC designed this course to match students to real local nonprofits, for whom the students write real grants. First, they write a $500 “mini-grant,” which is funded by ARC itself. The students compete with one-another on behalf of their assigned agency for the $500 award. This lower-stakes exercise sets them up with the skills needed to then go and write a “real” grant for their agency, in response to a real RFP in the real world by a real funder. Writing these two proposals constitutes most of their work and most of their grade. It’s a rigorous course in which students learn not just a new style of writing, but also, learn to communicate with busy professionals in the community, and learn about real needs and real people off campus. Here’s what some of my students said in their course evaluations about the value of the course:
- “Grant writing is a skill that is applicable in the real world and I feel like out of all the courses that I’ve taken at IWU this was the most useful.”
- “Very practical for anyone going into business/work world.”
- “This has been one of the most valuable classes I’ve taken at IWU in terms of real world experience.”
- “Loved her taking us off-campus, great connections in the community.”
- “I loved that we got to work in the community and have a taste of what the real world is.”
- [Holly] “gave us great readings and videos to watch and think about. And she asked us to think about different questions and about what we learned, about real life…”
I am too busy now with other work to teach this course as an adjunct, so to make myself feel better about not wasting all the time I put into adapting the syllabus back in 2017-18, I’ll be sharing the best bits all with you via a series of upcoming blog posts.
P.S. Did you I am a [very] part-time photographer? My first role at IWU was as a photographer, when I was commissioned to help shoot homecoming a few years ago.